24 April 2009

Review: Called Out Of Darkness - A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice

Called Out Of Darkness - A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice book coverThis is a book written by one of my all time favourite authors, Anne Rice. In this non-fiction publication, Anne recounts her life and her relationship with God. Beginning in her youth, Anne Rice takes us through her religious upbringing as a devout Catholic in New Orleans.

I was amazed at the extent of her devotion and worship and was able to catch a glimpse of what growing up in the Catholic faith was like in America at that time. I was also able to gain a clearer understanding of her admiration and love of nature, New Orleans and the Churches and significant buildings of her childhood. I often saw this reflected in her many novels and it is an aspect of her writing I thoroughly enjoy.

However after leaving home to go to College, Anne met non-Catholics for the very first time and gradually her faith began to crumble. This eventually resulted in her leaving the Church and God for a period of 38 years.

The second half of the book talks about her struggle with faith and how it helped her to shape her novels and the struggles faced by many of her main characters. I was totally engrossed in this part of the book and enjoyed her personal reflections with regard to plot and character, and found myself wanting to read all her novels again with this new insight.

Anne Rice returned to her faith and since then has decided to devote her life and her talents to God and write for him. This explains the end of her other series of books and how she came to commence writing a fictional account of Jesus' life, in Christ The Lord - Out of Egypt and Christ The Lord - Road to Cana.

I admire her struggle and years of research and reflection, and it really left me thinking about the themes of life purpose and 'soul searching'.

However the fan in me couldn't help but be disappointed when it became clear there would be no other books published that weren't related to her current faith related works.

In conclusion, this is really a book for those interested in the spiritual journey of the author, or those facing their own spiritual journey who wish to look through the eyes of another.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
14 April 2009

Review: The Arctic Event by Robert Ludlum

The Arctic Event by Robert Ludlum book coverThis book is part of a series created by Robert Ludlum but written by James Cobb. Confusing isn't it? James Patterson does a similar thing by co-authoring many of his books now, but forgive me for being old fashioned, but if it's Robert Ludlum's series, shouldn't it have been written by him alone? I don't believe writers should continue to write a book series after an author's death.

Okay, now that's off my chest, let me tell you I enjoyed this book. Recommended by a family member, I struggled with the introduction as this is the first real 'spy' book I can remember reading, (Ludlum having of course written the 'Jason Bourne' series). Once the characters were established, I was off and running/reading.

I was easily swept away by the plot but had to groan at the old enemy of the US, Russia, playing the bad guys. It did fit well with the plot though and the setting in the arctic had me pulling my doona right up to my chin and feeling the cold. The Arctic Event was exciting enough and I could easily see it being made into a film.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!
09 April 2009

Review: The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson book coverThis is the story of Anna, a Countess in Russia whose family has lost everything after the Revolution. Moving to London in 1919, Anna takes work as a servant at Mersham to support her family but the other servants and the Earl himself suspect there is more to Anna than a mere housemaid.

Anna is enchanting and captivates every character she comes into contact with. I found the inclusion of Eugenics quite an interesting topic and a perfect backdrop to paint the character of Muriel, the antithesis of Anna.

I enjoyed this easy to read novel, and it came complete with the fairytale ending one would expect from Young Adult fiction. This book is perfect for young teenage girls.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!